It has been freeeezing around here! So cold that schools are closed today. Right now I’d be at the gym being a beast but my class was cancelled so instead I am being a wuss all snuggled up with a blanket and coffee and feeling cozy.
The holidays are over and you know what that means – Everyone has been getting sick with the flu, stomach bug and other nasty viruses. What better way to heal, warm up and fill up than with a hot delicious plate of nutritious comfort food!
AND… you can really do well to reduce your chances of getting sick by doing a few simple common sense things:
Eat plenty of greens at every meal all year because they are packed with all things great for a healthy digestive and immune system such as fiber, vitamins A, C, K, potassium, calcium and folate.
Avoid sugar because that is probably the worst thing for your immune system as it is void of nutrition, causes inflammation, causes weight gain, contributes to metabolic syndrome, disrupts sleep and destroys your gut. Sugar is a huge jerk.
Get proper sleep – at least 7 hours the same times each night in the darkest room possible. The darker the better because lights disrupt the production of the hormone melatonin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that strengthens your immune system.
Exercise – to strengthen your heart, lungs, muscles and bones, and reduce sickness-inducing stress.
Last but not least, avoid spreading germs with hand washing. Use regular soap and water not antibacterial because that stuff is not any more effective and only makes the resistant bacteria more resistant. Unless you have just washed your hands, don’t touch your face or put your fingers in or around your mouth and remind (I mean nag) your kids to stop doing that. Touching your face is a really bad habit, so stop it. You just did it. I saw you!
I know it can be really hard to avoid getting sick when everyone around you is sick, but you can reduce your chances and if you do get sick, your body will have the tools to fight it off faster.
So basically, “Go to bed!”, “Eat your veggies!” and “Wash your hands!” is not just your mom or me nagging you, doing that stuff is truly vital to your health.
Speaking of veggies, I love the smell of cabbage cooking. I know it’s not a particularly popular smell, but I have heard that your sense of smell is the sense closest linked to your memory and I associate the smell of cabbage cooking with my grandmother’s house. So this meal is an extra comfort to me as I remember a happy time and place from my childhood.
Paleo Cabbage Rolls
1 onion chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 head cauliflower chopped into medium small pieces
2 cloves garlic smashed and minced
3 cups baby spinach
Coarse salt (sea salt or Himalayan)
Fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Organic jar tomato sauce (pasta sauce works)
Dash of onion powder and garlic powder
1 tsp raw local honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil or fat of choice
1 pound ground bison, beef or ground meat of choice
Place cauliflower on parchment lined baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and coat evenly with plenty of melted coconut oil. Roast on 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Heat fat in skillet on medium heat then add onion, dash of salt & pepper, cook 2 mins and then add bell pepper and garlic and cook a few more minutes or till starting to soften.
Add mushrooms and spinach and half a cup of roasted cauliflower and cook till juices incorporate
With a long sharp knife, cut around the core of the cabbage to loosen the leaves then remove each leaf. It helps to run warm water between them as you go. Pick out the best leaves for the rolls and place the “rejects” in the bottom of a glass 9 x 11 casserole pan. These will help the rolls to stay soft and not burn. Also choose some of the larger outer leaves that you will use to place over top of the rolls so the top doesn’t burn either.
Place the remaining leaves in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Let them cook for about 2-3 minutes so they are soft but not falling apart and then turn them out on to clean towels.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a sauce pan and add the jar of sauce, 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, dash of garlic and onion powder and teaspoon of honey. Heat through on low heat.
Mix together a cup of the sauce and the meat in a bowl and season with salt and pepper and crushed red pepper. Mix in the cooked vegetables.
Place 3/4 cup of the meat/veggie mixture on each cabbage leaf and roll up by folding in the sides and place in casserole dish. Spoon sauce on top of each roll, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with remaining leaves. Now they are all tucked in and cozy.
Bake at 375 degrees for half hour to 40 mins or until you notice it start to bubble a little.
Mix together a salad of baby spinach, a tsp each olive oil & red wine vinegar, dash salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and put on your serving plates.
While the cabbage rolls are baking, reheat the cauliflower for a couple of minutes. When the cabbage rolls are done, take them out to rest.
Place cauliflower in food processor with 2 tablespoons of turkey or chicken broth and pulse till blended.
Top spinach with a cabbage roll and top the roll with more sauce, olive oil and vinegar if desired. Put some mashed cauliflower on the side and serve. Enjoy!